The job interview is one of the most important steps in finding a new job, and failing to make the right impression during an interview will sink your chances of being hired. While answering all the potential employer's questions correctly and having a proactive attitude is certainly a key part of making a good first impression, what you wear to the interview is just as important in controlling how your future employer looks at you.
Putting together the perfect outfit for your next job interview isn't a simple process. Spending the time, money, and energy to do it right, however, is an investment that will pay great dividend at the end of your job search. By following this step-by-step guide, you'll be dressed to impress when your next interview rolls around.
You Can't Go Wrong With a Coat and Trousers
Different workplaces have different standards of attire, and in recent years the casual workplace has come into vogue. Even taking that into account, though, there aren't many situations where wearing a suit, or at least a jacket and nice trousers, would make you out of place in an interview. Even if you'll be dressing much less formally after you're hired, dressing up shows that you take the interview seriously. When you go in for an interview, bring a (tailored!) coat and pants. For a more formal workplace, this should be a nice business suit. If you're interviewing at a more casual place, a sports coat will do. Just remember: it's better to dress too formally than not formally enough.
Add shoes. Elegant, but not too shiny. With just the right amount of scruff. Shoes that show you actually wear them. Shoes are one best way to summarize who you are. An elegant pare of Italian shoes (much like a watch) can easily turn your causal jeans outfit into a personal and confident statement.
Just like you don't want to go into an interview in an untailored, ill-fitting coat and slacks, the rest of your attire needs to be up to interview standards as well. Always bring a nice looking, well-made tie to an interview (if it ends up being too formal for the environment, you can take it off after you arrive). If you have any other accessories, such as binders or men's jewelry, make sure they are of high quality; nice silver cufflinks and an expensive-looking portfolio folder will make a much more positive impression than a cheap necklace and a plastic binder that would look more at home in a high school locker than a professional business.
Get Properly Groomed
No, guys, a little pre-interview primping isn't just for the ladies. In fact, many guys could stand to take a few cues from how much time women spend preparing themselves for events like job interviews. The day before your interview, you should be getting your hair trimmed, your face shaved, and your nails manicured (yes, this matters). The nicest suit in the world won't do you any favors if you wear it with unkempt facial hair or a shaggy haircut, and knowing you're looking your best will give you a much needed boost in confidence for your interview.
If all the advice on what to wear to a job interview could be boiled down to a single sentence, that sentence would be: "Dress like you deserve the job you're going after." What you wear to your interview speaks just as loudly as all the words you say, and dressing like you already have the job sends a message to future employers before you speak a single word.
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